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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Facebook: The Social Nanny Network

A BLOGGER HAPPENED TO HAVE LOST HER FACEBOOK PAGE AND THIS WAS THE FACEBOOK’S RESPONSE:

It appears that a significant number of the “Likes” or “Subscriptions” to your Page may have been obtained in violation of our terms. This is a result of your participation in gaining likes in an inauthentic manner. Gaining likes by placing the like button on like-farms is not legal. We have found you to be doing the same at http://www.blahblahblahblahblah.html and other sites. Likes have to be authentic and users should not be forced to like a page. In order to address this issue, we have taken the steps necessary to remove these Likes or Subscriptions and have placed a temporary restriction on your page to gain external likes for 30 days. Make sure you make the changes within this duration. This decision is final and cannot be appealed.

Thanks. Victor The Platform Team Facebook

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    And so the day began...... Facebook managed to strike fear into nearly every blogger that has a fan page with one fell swoop of page suspensions and removals of likes to said pages. At first I thought "what in the world could we have done wrong?". Then I finally received the above in an email from a fellow blogger. My thoughts swirled as I read and re-read the statement. And then I just got freaking mad! Apparently this may have started from one or two people complaining that they "had to like" fan pages in order to enter some giveaways. Well DUH. It's bloggers who work with these companies, it's bloggers who work with other bloggers to help host and share costs (because a lot of them buy things out of their own pockets to repay their fans for their loyalty!) It's bloggers who help newbie bloggers like myself by having free host spots in exchange for helping promote the giveaways. These people work incredible hard and put up with some very rude creatures in order to make these giveaways possible. It's certainly not a lot to ask for people to like your page, IF THEY WANT TO. Facebook makes it sound like we bloggers are there with <insert weapon of choice here> to people's head FORCING them to like our pages. Nothing is further from the truth. I can speak from both side of this issue because not only do I help promote some giveaways, but I enter a lot.. A LOT of them myself. And darn it if I haven't won a few too! I never once felt like I HAD to like anyone's page. If I did not want to like a certain page, I did not like it and went on down the entry form entering using the other options. There are always other tasks or things that gain you entries into every giveaway. The main complaint seems to be the grouping of fan pages of the bloggers like me that are helping promote a giveaway... there are usually an average of 5 to 10 pages to like on a linked page within the giveaway tool (usually Raffle Copter). And it is usually required to like all the pages listed to earn 5, 10 or more entries into the giveaway (after you've entered a few giveaways, you usually have all the pages liked anyway). It amounts to at least one entry per page liked. If not for the grouping of these pages, the giveaway form would be miles long and take forever to complete. Facebook is way off the mark on this. This is Facebook turning into a "Nanny Network" and regulating other people's freedom of choice because of one or two people chose to enter then didn't like entry process. If these people were so unhappy with the methods to earn entries into any of the giveaways, they too had a choice... the choice to close the page and NOT enter. I am sure these same people exercise their freedom of choice when they decide whether to accept a friend request or to delete some one they find offensive. Facebook is supposed to be a social platform. Now through the changes to privacy and wall setting they make without people's consent and now by telling bloggers to stop doing something that has been going on for years, they are tightening the social circle (noose) too tightly. They should have just told the complainers that if they didn't like the methods of entering the giveaways, don't enter them. It really is THAT simple. I wonder what the response from Facebook would have been if the complaints had been that some of the giveaways have a "follow me on Instagram" option? Would they have said "tough luck"? Would they have ordered the bloggers to drop that option because not everyone has subscribes to Instagram? Would be interesting to know if they would view that as FORCING someone to use one of Facebook's products (Facebook owns Instagram)?. Or if that fact alone, would have kept them from responding at all. The statement that these likes are gotten in "an inauthentic manner" is just wrong. It's not like the likes are being robo-generated by computerized means or some sort of shady method. These are real people liking these pages BY CHOICE. And after the giveaway is over they have the choice to keep that like in place or to unlike it.
   Mark Zuckerberg and the rest of the Facebook team need to back off and leave the freedom of choice intact. Those few may complain, but the majority are not only willing, but LIKE to enter. Those of us that enjoy entering these giveaways make the choice to do so. We exercise our own free will to like the pages, follow the blogs and all the other things we do to enter a contest. And I am sure there are many like me that skip things on the form that I don't care to do or can't because I don't meet a certain requirement... like Instagram. Thanks but no thanks. Now that I know it is owned by Facebook, I think I'll continue to skip that entry.
   Facebook would be wise to back the majority. A large group of people bringing more people to the pages can only be a bonus in an advertiser driven atmosphere. Keep tightening the social network noose Mr Zuckerberg, and you may find that you have hung yourself with it. There were giveaways long before Facebook existed so with or without you, we'll keep having them. It's your CHOICE whether you'll reap the benefits of our pages and all those likes seeing the ads in the sidebar.

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